I paint with acrylic paints and I am in need of new brushes. My question is what paint brushes should I buy? Brand? any insight will be helpful. Thank you in advance. :)

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Hi Andrea..

I use white synthetic brushes for my broader stroke work and I then use Red Sable brushes for my detail.

White Synthetics

Red Sables

The white synthetics are usually reasonably priced brushes, whereas the Red Sables can be pricey.

The whites are velvety smooth and last fairly well. The red sables are just as silky, but will outlast the synthetics.

At the the end of the day, if you use cheap tools you will do cheap work.

I always buy quality paints and brushes.

The only time I use the stiff hog bristle brushes is for foliage, such as foreground grass. I use a trimmed hog bristle fan brush for this. These brushes are generally used for oil paints.

Hope this helps

Cheers

Andrea, Dallas gave you GREAT advice.  I have a slightly different approach.  I personally find that acrylics can be very hard on brushes.  No matter how hard I work to keep my acrylic brushes in pristine condition, I find the very tips of the bristles, curl up and lose that fine point, so essential to fine details.

As a result, I purchase those inexpensive (they're not that cheap!) acrylic/oil brushes sold at Michaels.  The brand names are:  Loew-Cornell, American Painter and Robert Simmons, among others.  Michaels has a very good selection of oil/acrylic  brushes that are relatively inexpensive.  I save my expensive brushes (sable, hog's bristle, etc.), for oil painting, which is not as damaging to brushes, as are acrylic paints.  

Hi Jenifer.. Yes, acrylics can be tough on brushes, particularly if they are not cleaned properly after use. Dried paint left in the ferrule will cause the bristles to snap. I use hair shampoo to clean my brushes, followed by hair conditioner. I leave the conditioner in the brush until I want to use it again. When I'm ready to paint again, I just rinse out the conditioner in warm water and the brush is good to go.

I usually paint on canvas and generally the canvas surface is pretty tough on brushes. It wears the brushes out eventually, but I get fairly good service life from them. I don't waste time trying to trim or repair a worn brush, I just throw them out. At any given time, I would have three spares of any brush I use.

Cheers
Jenifer Nadira Knight said:

Andrea, Dallas gave you GREAT advice.  I have a slightly different approach.  I personally find that acrylics can be very hard on brushes.  No matter how hard I work to keep my acrylic brushes in pristine condition, I find the very tips of the bristles, curl up and lose that fine point, so essential to fine details.

As a result, I purchase those inexpensive (they're not that cheap!) acrylic/oil brushes sold at Michaels.  The brand names are:  Loew-Cornell, American Painter and Robert Simmons, among others.  Michaels has a very good selection of oil/acrylic  brushes that are relatively inexpensive.  I save my expensive brushes (sable, hog's bristle, etc.), for oil painting, which is not as damaging to brushes, as are acrylic paints.  

Dallas, I use those TINY brushes, like in the small acrylic paintings of waterfowl on "my TAC page" (those paintings are 7" x 10").  I'm talking about size zero (0) and so on!  I keep 3 glasses of clean water as I paint with acrylics, and each time I apply a stroke of color, I swish the brush thoroughly in those 3 glasses of clean water, replacing the water as necessary if I need to, to ensure all 3 stay clean.

I then gently pat the brush on a clean cotton t-shirt.  

Even with ALL THIS meticulous effort, I'm still struggling with the tips of those tiny brushes curling up on me!  Dallas, do you have any helpful suggestions for me, as to how to deal with that problem?  Like I said, some of my tiny brushes are a size triple zero, I think!  

One more note:  those tiny paintings are for competitions that I enter.  For example, the wood duck, and the Canada goose.  The basis for those competitions, are highly detailed works. Hence, my need for tiny brushes.  I've been busting my head trying to figure out a way for my tiny brushes to hold their point, longer than they do, while using acrylic paints, but I am at my wit's end.  I'm hoping you have a helpful suggestion for me!   Those brushes are not expensive, but they're not cheap either!  

Hi Jenifer... This might sound a bit strange, but it does help in keeping the brush tips straight......

First, wash and clean your brush.....

Now, lick your lips and pucker.. place the brush tip between your lips and gently roll the brush.. as you pull the brush from between your lips, apply a little pressure to it....

I do this with every fine point brush I own... believe it or not... saliva is the best "conditioning" fluid there is for brushes...

My other half just shakes her head when she sees me do it... but it works... try it.

Cheers

Yikes!  Maybe if I put a little whiskey on the brush tips, that might help...   :)  :)

thanks, Dallas!

Very helpful, the both of you Jenifer & Dallas, thank you for all the advice. It is greatly appreciated! :)

Dallas Nyberg said:

Hi Andrea..

I use white synthetic brushes for my broader stroke work and I then use Red Sable brushes for my detail.

White Synthetics

Red Sables

The white synthetics are usually reasonably priced brushes, whereas the Red Sables can be pricey.

The whites are velvety smooth and last fairly well. The red sables are just as silky, but will outlast the synthetics.

At the the end of the day, if you use cheap tools you will do cheap work.

I always buy quality paints and brushes.

The only time I use the stiff hog bristle brushes is for foliage, such as foreground grass. I use a trimmed hog bristle fan brush for this. These brushes are generally used for oil paints.

Hope this helps

Cheers

you're very welcome, Andrea!  Any more questions on brushes, just ask Dallas!  Hehe!  He's pretty much the brush expert! I've learned some interesting things from Dallas!  (about brushes).  In fact, I've some other questions about brushes that I'm going to ask Dallas later...Right now, I'm focusing on a pastel painting.  

I have pastels that I want to work with, but I have no clue about pastel art lol. Maybe that will be a good winter project to focus on.

Jenifer Nadira Knight said:

you're very welcome, Andrea!  Any more questions on brushes, just ask Dallas!  Hehe!  He's pretty much the brush expert! I've learned some interesting things from Dallas!  (about brushes).  In fact, I've some other questions about brushes that I'm going to ask Dallas later...Right now, I'm focusing on a pastel painting.  

Andrea, pastels can be pretty intimidating in the very beginning, I'll admit that.  After I bought my first box, I got so frustrated with them, that I put the box away, and it would be over 20 years before I picked them up again!  I persevered until I figured out on my own, how to use them.  Now I use them for highly detailed animal (mainly dog) portraits.  When you are ready to tackle them, I'd be happy to share my knowledge of pastels with you.  Happy painting!  (oops, I didn't mean to sound like Bob Ross, now there's a fellow after my own heart!  Miss that man!  Gone too soon..  :(

Evening Dallas,
I have always used the pucker technique to keep my brushes pointy. I also have been known to put conditioner on large rounds and squares and tape them into shape with scotch tape. That really works. Is that going to hurt the life of the brushes Dallas?



Dallas Nyberg said:

Hi Jenifer... This might sound a bit strange, but it does help in keeping the brush tips straight......

First, wash and clean your brush.....

Now, lick your lips and pucker.. place the brush tip between your lips and gently roll the brush.. as you pull the brush from between your lips, apply a little pressure to it....

I do this with every fine point brush I own... believe it or not... saliva is the best "conditioning" fluid there is for brushes...

My other half just shakes her head when she sees me do it... but it works... try it.

Cheers

Thanks Judy, Tape will work.. it shouldn't harm the bristles.. just as long as they are clean. I recall an old artist, years ago, who used to apply a light coat of rubber cement to the bristles at the ferrule.. He claimed it kept the bristles flexible. I've never tried it, but It sounded practical... I might test it out and see..I'll let you know.

Cheers

Judy Schaffer Firneno said:

Evening Dallas,
I have always used the pucker technique to keep my brushes pointy. I also have been known to put conditioner on large rounds and squares and tape them into shape with scotch tape. That really works. Is that going to hurt the life of the brushes Dallas?



Dallas Nyberg said:

Hi Jenifer... This might sound a bit strange, but it does help in keeping the brush tips straight......

First, wash and clean your brush.....

Now, lick your lips and pucker.. place the brush tip between your lips and gently roll the brush.. as you pull the brush from between your lips, apply a little pressure to it....

I do this with every fine point brush I own... believe it or not... saliva is the best "conditioning" fluid there is for brushes...

My other half just shakes her head when she sees me do it... but it works... try it.

Cheers

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